Sheldon and Nuovo triumph in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — Democrats Amy Sheldon and Betty Nuovo on Tuesday staved off a spirited challenge from first-time candidate and Middlebury student Calvin McEathron in winning Middlebury’s two seats in the Vermont House.
Sheldon, an environmental consultant and former town planning commission member, was the top vote getter in the race for Addison-1’s two posts, with 1,310 tallies.
Nuovo, the county’s most tenured lawmaker having served a combined 27 years in the House, placed second, logging 1,163 votes.
McEathron, who took a sabbatical from his studies to immerse himself in local politics and the 2014 campaign, placed a respectable third in a House district that has consistently gone to the Democrats for the past dozen years. Running as an independent he received 1,034 tallies amid 48.8-percent voter turnout in Addison County’s shire town.
Tom Hughes, who filed for the race as an independent but did no campaigning, finished fourth with 321 votes.
This will be Sheldon’s first stint as a legislator after having made past, eleventh-hour bids for both the House and Senate. In 2010, the Middlebury Town Democratic Committee narrowly picked Paul Ralston over Sheldon to take then-Rep. Steve Maier’s place on the Nov. 2 ballot, after Maier had resigned to take a job within state government. Ralston was elected to the office twice but chose not to run for re-election this year.
“Obviously, I’m thrilled; I’m excited to represent Middlebury in the House,” Sheldon said of her victory. “It was a tough race. Calvin really put the heat on us and ran a great campaign.”
Sheldon also placed first in a Democratic primary on Aug. 26, so she became a seasoned campaigner as the election neared. She did a lot of door-to-door stumping for votes, participated in meet-and-greets and attended a lot of candidate forums along with advertising through newspapers and social media.
Sheldon will spend the coming days considering which House committee she will request for the coming biennium. Given her background, she acknowledged the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee — on which Nuovo currently serves — might be a logical fit.
Her priorities will include continuing the Legislature’s ongoing efforts on health care reform and supporting initiatives to make the state more affordable for its citizens.
Nuovo was also pleased to get the voters’ mandate for another term.
“I think it’s great; now I can get back to work,” she said. “I like my work, and I think I do a good job at it.”
She pledged to focus on health care reform and environmental quality issues. She will also support efforts to make the Vermont Public Service Board’s review of utility applications more inclusive, in terms of considering more input from citizens.
McEathron was disappointed to have finished out of the running, but was nonetheless pleased to have been able to “provide fresh ideas” from a youthful perspective.
“It was an amazing experience,” McEathron said of the campaign, which saw him do a lot of door-to-door. “Every vote I earned was a result of someone’s door I knocked on to talk to them.”
His post-election plan is to return to Middlebury College, from where he is slated to graduate in February of 2016. He will look back fondly on a campaign that he said was enlightening and positive.
“I think Amy and Betty will serve the town well and I wish them the best,” he said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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